Casino gets OK to change garage landscaping

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 13, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Preservation Commission voted Wednesday to allow Magnolia Bluff Casino to modify its parking garage landscaping plan after concerns about how much fresh air the plan would allow into the garage were brought out.

The previous plan called for a wire trellising system in which plants would grow — known as a green screen — to cover the southern and western side of the garage. Speaking on behalf of the casino project, Gary Wagoner said he was afraid the screen would not allow for proper air flow.

“On the east side we are hard up against the bluff, and we are 3 feet away from a lagging retaining wall, so we are not going to get a lot of breeze through there, and on the north side we are near a stand of trees, and we are not going to get a lot of breeze through there,” he said.

Email newsletter signup

The concern, Wagoner said, is the lack of ventilation where carbon monoxide is concerned.

Instead of going with the existing plan, he suggested the commission allow the casino to plant creeping fig on the southern and western sides of the garage to leave openings for air and light.

Commission member Liz Dantone expressed concern that such a decision might result in a building that looked like a giant chia-pet.

“This is very different from a screen-covered large area,” Dantone said. “It would be green, but it would have thin green vertical columns and horizontal green bands.”

Dantone instead suggested that one portion of the garage stay green-screened while another portion was left opened and covered with creeping fig.

Architect Ed Vance said the green screening on the western side of the parking garage was almost redundant because of other landscaping, which includes several trees and crepe myrtles, and the commission ultimately agreed with him, allowing the casino to plant the creeping fig on the western side of the parking garage and leave the green screen on the southern end.

The commission also approved several minor changes to the casino site to accommodate the widening of a sidewalk to city specifications and the moving of a window.

The commission also asked the casino’s representatives to make some mock-ups of signage that will be present at the riverfront location.

In other news, the commission approved the city’s request to use solar-powered bollard lights along St. Catherine Street as part the second phase of the Natchez Trails project.

City Engineer David Gardner said the lighting would be similar to that used along the Natchez bluff.